Manuel Marini has been active in technology and sales since the late 1990s. First working in international technology companies, he switched to the Goethe University Frankfurt in 2008. There he designed and was responsible for numerous Online-Marketing and software projects in a leading position. 2010 he founded Marini Systems GmbH, which is specialized on the development and implementation of CRM- and Sales-Clouds. Just a year late in 2011, he founded Marini Media GmbH together with Prof. Dr. Bernd Skiera. Marini Media GmbH has a special focus on performance marketing and digitization of sales, especially on marketing automation.
QX: Manuel, can you still remember the moment you decided to take the leap and found your very own company?
Manuel: I always wanted to start a company. But in the end, it was a coincidence. At the time of foundation, I was responsible for the digitization of sales and marketing processes at the House of Finance in the Business and Economics Department of the University of Frankfurt. We had been booked by agencies and large companies to assist with their pitches and projects. These were often challenging projects that one would call Big Data, Robotic Automation or Marketing Analytics projects today. At a certain point, we started a business and gradually developed us out of the university.
QX: Tell us more about the founding story of Marini Media!
Manuel: In the beginning, we actually sat in my living room and wrote small software applications. We did not have any big customers back then. They were medium-sized companies that classified us as nerds and provided us with challenges. Facing those challenges was also our stimulus. It wasn’t about profit or an exit. We didn’t have an investor and no credit. That's why we didn’t care. We stuck to that up to now. It was an exciting time with all the freedoms - and a 100-hour week. Not for long - orders from large companies came. The resulting cash flow allowed ourselves to set up a representative office in the financial district of Frankfurt. Honestly, the office was too big for us then. But looking back, it was the right decision. We grew faster than expected and only added a second floor last year. Today, we employ around 20 outstanding people, generate a sevendigit turnover and grow by approximately 50% every year.
QX: Today, Marini Systems stands for…
Manuel: Today, we describe our solutions as Robotic-Sales-Solutions. We support more than 150 companies in the digitization of sales. The projects nowadays are much more sophisticated and complex compared to the beginning. Our clients include DAX corporations, insurance companies and institutions that rely on our system infrastructure and see us as long-term partners.
QX: What’s the plan for 2018?
Manuel: Currently we receive requests from very large companies (B2B, B2C and D2C) on a daily base. If we don’t make any fatal mistakes, we will grow again this year. We have a lot of respect for the current development and we are well aware that we need to change our structures. We have accepted this challenge for 2018. In addition to the key account and the project management, we will invest in particular in our core business. We will set up separate departments for software development, systems modeling, marketing automation and data analytics and are looking for exceptional people willing to move forward with us. We currently have many vacancies (https://marini.media/karriere) and hope that QX will help us with the development.
QX: “Digitization” is all around us these days, though frequently rather as an abstract buzzword than a well-defined concept. “Digitization of sales” – How does that look like? And what impact can it have for companies and organizations?
Manuel: Digitization offers unprecedented opportunities for sales. For example, leads can be qualified without intervention from the sales department with marketing-automation campaigns and the potential of existing customers can be recognized and activated automatically with the help of sales-engines in combination with data-analytics. However, it’s not enough to simply digitize everything. The entire business processes (online and offline!) have to be holistically conceived and integrated. Those are real changes that companies will experience and that will change everything.
QX: Apart from the business, what is your personal resolution for 2018?
Manuel: To attend as many QX-Events as possible.
QX: As always, what is your personal Vanity?
Manuel: To spend time with my wife and two wonderful children and yet to have the freedom for self-fulfillment.
Thank you for the talk!